Dream Scenario – Film Review

Nicolas Cage has proven to be remarkably adept in his recent choices of narratives, consistently appearing in some of the most intriguing films of recent years. In productions such as “Mandy,” “Pig,” and “Renfield,” he has presented characters that deviate from the accustomed Nicolas Cage personas. However, “Dream Scenario” marks one of his most distinctive choices to date. Renowned for pushing the boundaries of madness with characters in recent times, this time, the actor emerges as an ordinary individual. Intriguingly, the eccentricities unfold around him in this instance.

To briefly touch upon the plot… Paul Matthews, an ordinary academician, inexplicably begins to appear in the dreams of people in his class, then in the town, and ultimately in the dreams of individuals across the country. Initially, this phenomenon is amusing and arouses curiosity nationwide, but it gradually transforms into a Krueger-esq nightmare. Due to a phenomenon beyond his control, Paul Matthews, who ascends to the zenith of the world, swiftly metamorphoses into the most despised individual by everyone in a short span.

What distinguishes A24’s success is their deviation from the conventional Hollywood system, prioritizing creativity and artistic integrity. I have often likened A24 to United Artists, appreciating their approach of granting directors complete control. This liberty empowers directors to create under the A24 banner, resulting in magnificent works. Director Kristoffer Borgli adeptly embellishes this environment of freedom with his compelling narrative in “Dream Scenario.” At a time when cinema finds itself entangled in repetitions and spin-offs, this film arrives like a remedy.

The narrative’s direct approach without unnecessary embellishment stands as the film’s most significant advantage. Similar to Paul Matthews, the audience finds itself immersed in a chaos that defies immediate comprehension. People begin seeing Paul Matthews, an ordinary citizen, in their dreams, and this phenomenon spreads like an epidemic throughout the entire country. The film’s conflict is established by the peculiar and socially inept Paul Matthews experiencing bizarre events, a coup for an ordinary man that no one would notice in everyday life suddenly becoming viral within a few days. In contemporary society, going viral implies having someone knock on your door. However, encountering the offers of the modern world proves overwhelming for Paul Matthews, a relic of the old world. This sets the stage for a multitude of absurd scenes for our amusement.

Yet, the film’s most beautiful aspect lies in its astute analysis of the prevailing societal issue. Initially, a character merely passing through dreams without engaging in events, Paul gradually transforms into a Krueger-like figure, attacking people in their dreams. None of these events are within Paul Matthews’ control. Despite this, people, influenced by visions, also beyond their control, start taking a stance. At this juncture, the film draws a parallel with the contemporary world. It vividly illustrates how, despite having all the conveniences and opportunities at their disposal, people in today’s society often lack logical thinking and succumb to the absurdity of cancel culture. While we are aware that the events in the film are fictional, we can’t help but hope that if such a situation were to arise in reality, the depicted events would transpire exactly as portrayed in the film.

At a certain point, we find ourselves pitying Paul Matthews, rooting for him due to the ludicrous situation he finds himself in. While the absurdity and detachment from reality of the story entertain us as viewers, within the narrative, we truly live alongside the society depicted. Every day, many Paul Matthews are thrust into the public eye for various, often baseless reasons, losing their jobs, families, and lives. Perhaps the film’s primary goal isn’t even to summarize the current state of society. However, the resulting impact leaves us with a brilliantly crafted film that manages to leave a bitter taste of reality even as it amuses.

In essence, “Dream Scenario,” brought to life by Kristoffer Borgli’s superb screenplay and Nicolas Cage’s stellar performance, shines as an unparalleled film in an era of copy-paste productions. Unfortunately, the Black Mirror-style addition at the film’s conclusion slightly diminishes the score I would otherwise assign. Nevertheless, the presented narrative is truly commendable, especially as it draws parallels with the extremes of the contemporary world, turning the film into a much more nuanced and compelling experience. Films like “Dream Scenario” are not the typical fare we encounter regularly; each year brings a handful of these unique narratives. Appreciating their value becomes imperative.

Cast & Crew

director: Kristoffer Borgli

writers: Kristoffer Borgli

starring: Nicolas Cage, Julianne Nicholson, Michael Cera, Dylan Gelula, Lily Bird, Jessica Clement

USA | 2023 | 102 MINUTES |


Ukrainian Creative Director | Motion Picture Writer | Horror Freak

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